Portraits of George Calvert, First Lord Baltimore, the Countess of Suffolk, and Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, 1784
Shaw Galleries

Portraits of George Calvert, First Lord Baltimore, the Countess of Suffolk, and Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, 1784

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Portraits of George Calvert, First Lord Baltimore, the Countess of Suffolk, and Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, 1784.

This plate was engraved for George Augustus Walpoole's New and Complete British Traveller, which was published by Alexander Hogg in 1784. Each of the sitters was an important person in the courts of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I and VI, and all had ties to the beginning stages of English colonization. 

George Calvert (1579-1632) held a number of political offices and eventually became the eighth proprietary government of the Newfoundland Colony. He attended Trinity College Oxford and studied languages. After graduating in 1597, he moved to London to study municipal law for three years. During a trip to Europe (1601-1603), he met Sir Robert Cecil and became a valuable aide to him at court and in foreign affairs. In 1604, he married Ann Mynne (Mayne) and together they had ten children. Due to his connection to Cecil, Calvert  gained in the King's favor as Cecil did, rising in importance along with him. His first royal appointment came in 1606, when the King appointed clerk of the Crown and Assizes in Connaught, County Clare, Ireland. This was quickly followed by several more appointments which brought him into close contact with the King. He became an important and trusted advisor to James I and was sent on numerous diplomatic missions by him. In 1617 he was knighted and two years later he was appointed as one of the two principal secretaries of state. He bought land in Newfoundland in 1620 and established a colony there which he called Avalon. Calvert retired from politics in 1625 after his advocacy for the failed Spanish match had isolated him from the majority of parliament. The King rewarded him for his continued loyalty by retaining his seat on the Privy Council and appointing him Baron (Lord) Baltimore in County Longford, Ireland. After retiring from office he set sail for Avalon and openly converted to Catholicism. The colony struggled under the difficult conditions of Newfoundland which prompted Calvert to petition for a tract of land in Virginia. The charter passed five weeks after his death and it fell on his son Cecilius to carry out the charter. This new colony of Maryland became a refuge for catholic settlers and a prime exporter of tobacco. 

Katherine Knyvet Howard (1564-1633) was prominent lady at court until her fall from favor in 1619. She served as a maid f the bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth I and was granted a position in Queen Anne's household as well. After her first husband Richard Rich died, she married Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk. Katherine was well known for her beauty and had a number of suitors at court. She used her husband's political position to earn kickbacks and bribes as a way of increasing her own standing at court. When these practices became public knowledge she and her husband were arrested and imprisoned on charges of corruption. They were released after paying a fine but their standing was never regained. Around the same time as their arrest Katherine was stricten by small pox which stripped her of her beauty. Thomas and Katherine had twelve children together. Their eldest son Theophilus was interested in new world expansion and was listed in the second charter of the Virginia Company. He too fell from favor due in part to his parents loss of position and his own gambling habits. One of their daughters also gained attention during her petition for an annulment from her first husband Robert Deveraux, the Earl of Essex, so that she could marry Robert Carr, the Earl of Somerset. Later, she was arrested and admitted to poisoning Thomas Overbury, which resulted in the Somersets fall from favor.

Margaret Clifford (1560-1616) was a noblewoman, who served as a maid of honor to Queen Elizabeth I. Her father was Francis Russell, the Second Earl of Bedford. On June 24, 1577, she married George Clifford, the Third Earl of Cumberland. The couple had three children bought their sons died as children. This strained the couples marriage and they spent an increasing amount of time apart. After the Earl's death it was revealed that he had willed his estate to his brother instead of leaving it to his daughter Ann. This led to a lengthy legal battle to regain the estate for Ann. She did not succeed until after the death of her cousin in 1643. The Earl of Cumberland had been a popular courtier before turning his attention to a career in the navy.  In 1600, Queen Elizabeth granted Clifford a charter for the formation of the English East India Company. The first Company voyage set sail a year later under the command of Sir James Lancaster. 

- Naomi Bean

Plate size: 8.75" x 13.5"
Sheet size: 9.5" x 15"
Condition: Very fine antiquarian condition.